In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Finishing what I started.....

There are some things that I am content to never finish.  Take the Whole 30 diet, for example.  I started it January 2, and lasted all of nine days before calling it quits.  I assure you, I had no issues with not completing the intended thirty days, as I felt miserable the entire nine days I tried it!

{No offense to all of you hard-core Whole 30 people.  It just wasn't for me.}

Books that don't hold my interest for more than a few chapters would also fall into the "I'm ok with quitting this" category.  And Monopoly would definitely fall into this category.  Has anyone ever really finished a game of Monopoly? 

While there are some things that I feel I do not need to complete, there are other things that I feel compelled to finish, for no other reason than I want to finish what I started.  Seven years ago, I started a process that if I could do over, I probably wouldn't even begin. This past week I submitted a project confirming that in just a few short months, I will finally be able to say that I completed this thing that I started so many years ago.  As much as I disliked spending the last several months of my free time completing something I currently have little interest in, being able to say that I am going to finish what I started feels incredibly freeing!  In many ways, it feels as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

A little over ten years ago, I graduated college with a degree in education. That statement alone makes me feel really old.  How has it already been more than ten years?  I spent the next three years teaching in a small, private Christian school.  For various reasons and opportunities, I chose to leave the classroom in 2009 after I got married, fully intending to go back to teaching after a few years.


In 2010, as I was waiting to figure out what to do next, I thought it would be a great idea to begin work on my masters.  Now I read that sentence and laugh, wondering what on earth I was thinking!  Back then, I told myself that while I had the extra resources and time, it would be a fabulous idea to be a life-learner and continue my education at my own pace through online classes, even if I never used the degree!  Such noble thoughts I had nearly seven years ago! 

Someday, I may thank my former, noble, thoughtful self.  The problem is that I never finished my degree before I got pregnant with the twins in 2013.  As close as I was to finishing back then, with only a few assignments for a class and a thesis paper to write, once I got pregnant and those babies came, it was game-over!  I no longer cared about how close I was to the finish line.  I was in survival mode, up to me knees in dirty diapers and baby bottles. 

After the twins turned one year old, I did finish that last class, leaving me with only a thesis paper to write before I could say I finished the task I set out to achieve. But then I got pregnant again, and for the first half of that pregnancy I was taking care of twin toddlers, all while being exhausted and nauseous.  Once again, finishing what I started got put on hold.

At the end of my pregnancy, I got a phone call from my professor, reminding me how long I had been enrolled in the program, how close I was to finishing, and how much time and resources I’ve already put into the process.  By this point, I had had only taken one class in 2-3 years.  She told me that I needed to make a decision to finish what I started, or to be content to never finish. 

At this point in my life, it would be easier for me to write a paper about potty training, breast feeding or cloth diapering, than it would a paper about education!  Nonetheless, this past fall, I submitted a thesis topic and outline for approval.  I confess that working on this project in my free time has not been ideal.  The truth is that the only reason I’ve spent the last few months researching and writing about something I’m not currently interested in, is because I didn't want to have any regrets.  I didn't want to always wonder if I should have or could have finished.  I wanted to tell my kids that their mom finished what she started.  That's it.  Plain and simple. 

As I write this today, I don’t know if teaching is a vocation I will ever return to.  I’m not the same person I was ten years ago.  My dreams are different.  My interests have broadened.  The passions that help drive me today are pointing me a different way. 

No matter what my future holds once my babies are grown, this I know.  I know that, at least in this area of my life, I will never wonder if should have or could have.   I know that even if it took me twice as long as it should have, I completed the task before me, and for that I am proud.


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